Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I know it is now officially winter...

... because today I completely ate it on North Bridge. Twice. The first time it was funny, as I just sort of slipped to the side and caught myself on the bannister/suicide barrier thingie, laughed and said thanks to the guy who let me know that the entire arm of my coat was covered in ice, and moved on. The second time was not funny, as I hit the ground hard, sent my bag flying into the street, and mushed a bunch of grit into my poor mangled hand. I blame the people who were walking slowly in front of me, causing me to need to leave the safety of the well-trodden path to pass them. Bastards.

For a number of years now, ice has been my nemesis. Mostly, I don't mind winter. I know, I know-- why would you leave CALIFORNIA to live HERE? Blah, blah. It's raining? Go inside. It's cold? Put on a coat. But ice? I just can't conquer it. It might be that ice is something you have to grow up with to really understand well-- friends who grew up in Scotland/Newfoundland/New York don't seem to have half the problem with it I do. On the other hand, my lovely ReRe (Boston-born, but Southern-raised) and I spent many a day in the icy depths of hellish Connecticut winters clutching each other as we plummeted to our asses on very hard, cold asphalt. So, it could be my upbringing. Maybe the trade-off is that I know a great deal about sunblock, whereas it seems that by requirement every person in Britain gets sunburnt on the first sunny day of early summer. My other theory involves my level of coordination, which I have to say is not very high. It takes quite a lot of concentration to not fall on my ass on a perfectly dry, flat street in trainers-- the addition of cobbles, alcohol, heels, or especially ICE makes it a sort of Olympic challenge for me. But I prefer to blame the inner Californian.

Anyway, here's the Christmas round-up...
Went home for Christmas, after about a week of worrying that my passport might still be with the Home Office when my flight left. It came back in time, they gave me a nice, long Visa, and the flight was decently pleasant, though the half-assed version of Tylenol PM that I bought at Boots to replace my mysteriously disappeared stash was not nearly strong enough to keep me out for the required amount of time.
All was fine there: my Grandfather came for a weekend of Horse Whisperer, lame-ass, touchy-feely animal guru shit with some wannabe cowboy, who claimed to be an 'animal communicator' but who apparently had an inability to 'communicate' with my dogs-- Luna ignored him, Mackenzie detested him. Mildly irritating, but nothing terrible, and Grandpa was remarkably subdued-- after getting completely wrecked on the first night and singing (literally) the praises of Ronald Reagan to the rafters, he kept himself well within check, and I was not forced to use animal tranquilisers on myself to keep from screaming.
Christmas itself was a rather resounding success-- On the 'Eve we went to a neighbour's for dinner/booze celebrations, which had that nice ring of 'family Christmas' to it without the buzz-killing presence of my ACTUAL extended family. In the morning a shockingly good haul of presents, followed by a day spent tending to our Christmas goose and a few other bits of the dinner made for a really nice, chilled out day. What could please me more than presents and cooking? Nothing, I tell you, expect perhaps a massage.
Another Grandfatherly encounter on Boxing Day was again minimally traumatic, and I got to see not only my Dad's best friend's trendy new LA restaurant, but also said friend's trendy new Model/Actress girlfriend (referred to by my mother as 'poo daisy'). This was followed by a day in LA with Bren doing a bit of dog-sitting and hanging out at her shockingly grown-up apartment (it is much nicer than mine. I comfort myself by thinking that it is an advantage to be able to furnish entirely from my parent's garage, which is more like an antique store, but I think she and her flatmate also have a certain I-don't-know-what...).
Then, a flight back to Edinburgh with a dosage of sleeping meds blissfully strong enough to keep me from murdering the cretin behind me, who managed to not only kick my seat the whole flight (in that insistent, 'I want you to put your seat up because I am greedy for space and don't understand even the most basic principles of air-travel, but I am too passive-aggressive to actually ask' way), but also started out our adventure by dropping his camera case from the overhead bin onto my wrist, and ended our rendezvous by dropping his suitcase from same bin directly onto my head. I loved him, but I was medicated enough to take his apology with great aplomb.
And then back here for New Year, which I spent-- SOBER. Oh yes. This was not pure masochism: I have a cold, and I woke up New Year's Eve 'morning' at 4pm feeling so horrible that I couldn't even think of adding a hang-over to the petroleum-plant of mucus already inhabiting my person. Despite the lack of booze it was surprisingly fun, mostly due to the fact that Keith threw a good party with good peeps. Though we apparently missed all the excitement later on... (as usual, see www.roquefort.blogspot.com)

Now, back to work. The PhD has started, and the supervisor wants a literature review and prospectus of goals for my first year by the end of January, plus I am moving next weekend, and tutorials start next week. AND, as I have discovered, it is winter, and it is therefore ICY, and so I have to spend lots of time figuring out how to get other people to go out for me, so I can stay inside, and away from slippery things.